Today, Fulani herdsmen use AK47; are rapists, murders, kidnappers and drug addicts, Alhaji Dambazau said as he speaks on the issues of pastoralists in the country.
Newsonline reports that the former Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau has called on the need to educate Fulani herdsmen, who have changed from how they used to be, “humble and friendly”, in the course of their pastoral activities.
“While in the past he was easily identified by his stick with which he controlled the movement of his cattle, today he is identified with the AK47 and other light weapons he uses to attack rural communities and also ambush to kidnap passengers and motorists traveling on the highways.
“The Fulbe pastoralist was known to be humble, kind, gentle, disciplined, honest, and selfless, but today he is perceived as a bandit, murderer, rapist, cattle rustler, and kidnapper,” Dambazau said.
The retired general made the statement in Abuja, while delivering a paper, titled, “Dilemma of the Fulbe pastoralist,” at the Pastoralists and Fulbe Security Conference, in Abuja.
The c onference with the theme: “Exploring the contemporary challenges facing pastoralism and Fulbe with a view of proffering workable solution in curbing insecurity across the nation,” is organized by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, and Northern Consensus Movement, NCM.
Gen. Dambazau, regretted that the Fulani herders have been neglected by the general society, without any education. This he said has caused the pastoralists living in bushes, abusing drugs and taking to arms and engaging in criminal activities.
Dambazau called on the NDLEA, the Federal government and the general society to jointly render the much needed education, rehabilitation and human empowerment to the Fulani pastoralists to deter the bad among them from crimes.
“We must also clean up the stable, and by this, I mean, with the help of the NDLEA, the society must work on the drug abuse among the Fulbe pastoralist youth.
“We must ensure justice and pursue human capital development that would improve the education and health of the Fulbe pastoralist to open more opportunities for him for self-development in the society.
“To do this, access to quality education and healthcare facilities should be provided for the Fulbe pastoralists, in addition to skills acquisition.”
The former minister continued, “Beyond the idea of the UN Great Green Wall in the Sahel to checkmate the southwards movement of the desert, states and Federal Governments, and the private sector, should raise special funds for establishing ranching communities.
“Particularly in the vast lands in the northwest and north east, with all necessary facilities to enable the pastoralists settle down permanently.
“After all, government has been subsidizing agriculture, especially for farmers, and the production of livestock should be part of the government efforts to increase revenue.”
While calling for concerted efforts to give the Fulani pastoralists a sense of belonging, Dambazau said, “It should be noted that contemporary challenges facing Fulbe pastoralists are multifaceted and complex and requires the engagement of the general society to address.